Chef Salvador Hernandez’s “Mex-and-match” concept perfectly integrates Texas’ favorite cuisines with Mexican flavors
El Patio Mex-Tex Grill & Bar, a new restaurant that combines the flavors of the Mexican highlands with traditional Texas barbecue, is opening at The Realm at Castle Hills in Lewisville. Its unique menu was created by Guadalajara-native Executive Chef/Co-Owner Salvador Hernandez, who has melded his love for the street cafés and food carts of Mexican highland cities with the good-ole Texas barbecue of his adopted state. El Patio at The Realm at Castle Hills is located at SH 121 and Windhaven Parkway, and opens September 15, just in time for Mexican Independence Day on September 16.
Chef Salvador’s menu choices are broken down by Mex, Tex and Mex-Tex. The Mex portion is influenced heavily by the chef’s love of Mexican street food and features trompo al pastor, which is prepared street-style, live-fired and presented tabletop as a mini-rotisserie with homemade tortillas, grilled pineapple and a duo of salsas. Volcanes (the chef’s take on Mexican street nachos) are corn-roasted tortillas topped with Mexican cheese, guacamole, crema and a choice of carne asada, al pastor pork, roasted chicken or house smoked brisket.
The Tex portion of the menu features a house smoked brisket sandwich with El Patio’s signature barbecue rub, local ancho chile caciotta cheese and a rustic local bread with Chef Salvador’s barbecue sauce. The Texas wedge salad is topped with locally sourced pecans, mozzarella, oranges, Shiner Bock onion rings and a ruby red vinaigrette.
Mex-Tex options, “the best of two cultures with one place to call home,” says Chef Salvador, include the Mex-Tex guacamole served with rib-eye chicharrons and pork belly carnitas served with fresh corn tortillas, habanero-pickled red onion slaw, Mexican rice and a duo of fresh salsas.
The cocktail menu features a mango-chamoy margarita, grilled pineapple mojito, chocolate abuelita martini, and for those brave enough, the “paleta shots,” a grown-up version of the traditional Mexican popsicle.
“I felt that true Mexican cuisine was not represented when I dined in Tex-Mex restaurants,” said Chef Salvador. “El Patio’s menu blends authentic Mexican recipes with my Texas upbringing and I did not want to leave out what Texas represents to me: fantastic barbecue! The similarities of the bold flavors in both Texas and Mexican cuisine led me to create a menu with a blend of both strong styles. That is how the Mex-Tex idea was born.” Chef Salvador is also dedicated to cooking with only fresh and locally sourced ingredients. All the locally sourced meats at El Patio will be prepared on open-fire grills or rotisseries, and use only pecan and hickory woods in the restaurant’s custom smoker.
Chef Salvador was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. at age 20. After six years in the restaurant and club industry, he was promoted to an executive chef position from prep cook/dishwasher. He eventually accepted the executive chef position at The Lakes at Castle Hills, a private golf course and country club. There, he was given the opportunity to celebrate the individual Mexican and Texas cultures and flavors, as well as the freedom to explore and create new recipes that fused both.
“Chef Salvador has cultivated quite a following here at The Lakes at Castle Hills,” said Tim Koressel, The Lakes at Castle Hills general manager. “We were excited to give him an opportunity to branch out and create an even larger audience for his unique recipes.” Both The Lakes at Castle Hills and The Realm at Castle Hills are Bright Realty developments; after El Patio’s opening, Chef Salvador will continue to lead the team at The Lakes.
“The Realm was the perfect location for El Patio because of the incredible growth in the area. The Patio layout and design creates the feeling that you are outdoors in an open-air environment and a unique opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful views at The Realm,” added Chef Salvador.
Social distancing and extra cleaning precautions are currently in place at the restaurant. El Patio’s air filtration system is designed to recycle the air in the restaurant 12 times per hour and has a complete air change every five minutes when the bar windows are closed. Fresh air comes from two areas (roof and side building vents) to provide a clean air source when recycling air and minimum fresh air requirements are set up at 9000 CFM to maintain high standards for air filtration.
El Patio’s hours are Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. See the full menu at https://www.elpatiomextex.com/. Find El Patio on Instagram at @elpatiomextex.
About The Realm at Castle Hills
The Realm at Castle Hills is a 324-acre mixed-use development consisting of office, retail and multi-family which blends the sophistication of an urban lifestyle with unique outdoor activity and event spaces. The project at completion will consist of over 5,000 multi-family units; 1.5 million square feet of retail, office and restaurants; a boutique hotel; an extensive trail system; and an outdoor entertainment district. It is located on State Highway 121/Sam Rayburn Tollway, just two minutes from Grandscape and Nebraska Furniture Mart; four minutes from Legacy West, Toyota HQ, Liberty Mutual, FedEx and JPMorgan Chase; and 15 minutes from DFW Airport.